I joined ThoughtWorks in mid-2005. Before that I had worked in three organizations and been part of many fantastic software development teams. But my teams had often failed to deliver to our own and our client’s expectations. I was eager to find a better way to develop software that brought more consistent success for my teams. I joined ThoughtWorks to learn and experience agile software development methodologies.

In my first couple of years at ThoughtWorks I focussed on learning Extreme Programming (XP), mastering practices like TDD and pair programming and understanding principles like Continuous Improvement and Flow. I finally felt I had discovered a meaningful way to build software, where team members and stakeholders can be happy and successful. I fell in love with XP and became an evangelist for it in my teams, communities and with my clients. And I’ve been hooked ever since! I have been working at ThoughtWorks for more than 15 years now but it feels like I joined just yesterday!

Over my time here, I have played various roles in software development teams like developer, analyst, project manager and team lead. I have also been part of local and regional leadership teams in roles of Delivery Partner, General Manager and Office Principal. Apart from those formal roles, I along with my friend Akshay, run  the Practising XP podcast to help practitioners early in their journey learn about its most core ideas and principles.

‎Practising eXtreme Programming on Apple Podcasts
Chirag and Akshay have over 20 years of experience in working with agile teams that practice Extreme Programming. In this podcast they discuss practical insights on building effective teams

While my initial pull towards ThoughtWorks was because of XP,  within a few years I realised that my resonance with the organisation extended far beyond how we built software. There was something about it that just felt right - the way leaders behaved, how we treated our clients, the way people interacted with one another regardless of experience. I held with wonder the autonomy with which teams operated & the effectiveness of communities. The underlying principles upon which the organisation was built, felt both expansive & liberating. Essentially - it was the ThoughtWorks culture that made this place feel like home.  And to this day, I continue to feel this way.

I believe that our culture is also  our unique value proposition. It is the essential element that helps us create lasting value for our customers and our people. This is why over the last couple of years, I have focussed on driving programs at ThoughtWorks India that are about strengthening and shaping our culture for the future. One of my focus areas has been to strengthen and scale our cultivation culture. Another has been to help new hires at ThoughtWorks get onboarded and integrated with our cultural fabric quickly and deeply. I have enjoyed discussing the Why, What and How of our culture and I hope that Our Culture Cafe will become a catalyst  for more such conversations.

P.S: By the way, anyone who knows me at work, will tell you that I love talking. I think out loud, so to speak. Over the years I have made verbal communication my default mode of communication. I prefer quick phone calls, audio messages over email or instant messages. But, writing is an uncomfortable and unfamiliar medium for me. In Our Culture Cafe, while I take baby steps in learning how to get my thoughts across in the form of articles, I am relieved to have Chitra as a partner in this work. She takes the drafts that I create and effortlessly pulls them up to the level where they would be worth your time.

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